What could be worse than a rottweiller?

I was not looking forward to Hitchens’ book because I feared it would be (how should I say this?) less than temperate. But if this snippet, from a preview in Slate,

Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

or this one

We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul. We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful. (In fact, if a proper statistical inquiry could ever be made, I am sure the evidence would be the other way.) We are reconciled to living only once, except through our children, for whom we are perfectly happy to notice that we must make way, and room. We speculate that it is at least possible that, once people accepted the fact of their short and struggling lives, they might behave better toward each other and not worse. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion.

is at all representative, I should just order my copy right now.

All the recent polemics have been from scientists. It would round out my education to hear what a non-scientist has to say to get a balanced view.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

2 thoughts on “What could be worse than a rottweiller?”

  1. This is an interesting juxtaposition:

    “and [we] find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books.”

    It sounds like he’s replaced on set of holy books with another. The rest of it is an interesting explanation of his [their? your?] non-belief.

  2. I think he is suggesting that they (Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot) provide better ways to understand ethical dilemmas precisely because they are not holy.

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